Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Smile Like Yours (1997) [R] ***


Danny Robertson (Greg Kinnear) owns a commercial elevator construction company in San Francisco; his slogan is: For all your ups and downs. His wife Jennifer (Lauren Holly) is a fragrance chemist who runs a boutique perfume shop, together with her partner Nancy (Joan Cusack). Jennifer's specialty is aphrodisiac perfumes and she likes to show up unannounced at Danny's construction site with her newest fragrance, and have him test it with her in the construction elevator while construction workers and nearby residents try to observe. Danny and Jennifer are in their thirties and her biological clock is ticking, but they are having trouble getting pregnant; it turns out that Danny has lazy swimmers, meaning his sperm have low motility. So they sign up with a local fertility clinic, which takes the spontaneity out of their sex life and ultimately begins to wear them down.

Meanwhile Jennifer is secretly in negotiation with Richard Halstrom (Christopher McDonald), whose cosmetics company wants to market her wildly successful 7th Scent. At the same time Danny is being subtly wooed by Lindsay Hamilton (Jill Hennessy), a construction project manager who wants Danny's company for her commercial renovation project in Seattle. When Danny sees Jennifer get into a limousine with Richard, he thinks she's being unfaithful. And when Jennifer sees Danny and Lindsay get on a plane for Seattle, she thinks he's being unfaithful.

This is a classic feel-good, happy-ending, farcical romantic comedy. Greg Kinnear and Lauren Holly have terrific chemistry. Screenwriting and directing are good, if occasionally uneven, and the soundtrack is outstanding. The supporting cast is excellent, especially Joan Cusack, and there are cameos by France Nuyen and Shirley MacLaine. If you enjoyed Greg Kinnear and Lauren Holly in Sabrina (1995), or you like romantic comedies like Fools Rush In, with Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry, you will probably enjoy A Smile Like Yours.

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